The Los Angeles Lakers will be without two members of their starting five for a little while. As a result of the fireworks on Saturday night, Brandon Ingram will be suspended for the next four games and Rajon Rondo will be suspended three games. Chris Paul, who was also involved in the scrum, garnered a two-game suspension.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news.
Sources: NBA suspensions – Brandon Ingram 4 games; Rajon Rondo 3 games; Chris Paul 2 games.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 21, 2018
Here is the breakdown of the findings in the NBA’s investigation, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
This is from the NBA’s release. Says Rondo instigated, spat and threw punches. Says Paul poked and three punches. pic.twitter.com/ffApclEJIN— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) October 21, 2018
Along with the multi-game suspensions, Rondo, Ingram and Paul will all be fined according to Bobby Marks of ESPN.
Here are the financial implications from the altercation between Houston and the Lakers: Brandon Ingram will be fined $158,816 for the four games suspended. Rajon Rondo will be fined $186,207 for three games suspended. Chris Paul will be fined $491,782 for the two games suspended. The suspension is based on total salary divided by 145. In addition, Houston will receive a $245,891 credit that will be applied to their luxury tax at the end of the season.
Given everything the Lakers have to figure out, missing two big pieces of the puzzle for a while is one of the last things they could’ve wanted. Yes, both players have guys behind them who can step in, but the trickle-down effect that will have on the rest of the rotation will be immense.
Lonzo Ball is arguably better than Rondo already, but without a third NBA-caliber point guard on the roster (I’m not sold on Alex Caruso), a second unit that’s already struggled this season could look even more disorganized in stretches Ball doesn’t play in.
The other concern here is that Ball might not be ready for the minutes load that will come as a result of Rondo’s absence. Ball has begun this season on a minutes restriction as he tries to get back in shape after having misses most of training camp and four of the Lakers’ six preseason games, although he and Walton alluded to that possibly being lifted at practice on Sunday.
While Ingram is out, Kyle Kuzma can theoretically step into the starting lineup, but he’s been the team’s primary backup center. Luke Walton will have to decide if he wants to use more of Michael Beasley at the five during this stretch or see if Kuzma can play more minutes while also learning a new position. I’d probably prefer to see more Beasley over this stretch, as Kuzma has struggled with the responsibilities he’s been asked to fulfill this season as is.
Newly added two-way player Johnathan Williams is also an option, in theory.
The Lakers’ upcoming schedule is not as tough as it might’ve looked heading into the season, but it’s not the kind of slate you’d like to see without a full rotation. They play San Antonio Monday, followed by Phoenix then Denver in a back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday, the Spurs again next Saturday. Life is tough in the Western Conference, and it could get downright cruel without a couple starters.